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Nathaniel Pike, a headstrong billionaire, is purchasing a piece of federal land in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and turning it into a huge, inaccessible parking lot. Orbiting Pike and his aspirations is a cast of perfectly flawed eccentrics: Marlene, who is shy and vulnerable but also a budding exhibitionist; Stuart, Pike’s assistant, who is Marlene’s husband and a failed writer; and Heath, who films Marlene’s public nudity and turns her into an Internet star. In this grand tale of the folly of the modern world, Mike Heppner skewers the extravagance of wealth, and the class that grows up around that wealth, even as he casts a humane look at the people involved.
much of listening to Gregg before his thoughts began to wander. Before leaving, he told Gregg, “You need to stop worrying so much about the Reese Foundation. It’s all a lot of self-righteous bull, anyway. Every fortune—especially yours—has an evil source. Decades and generations won’t change that. You might not be aware of this, Gregg, because you’re too far from the source.” He gritted his teeth. “But I made my own fortune. I am the evil source.” Gregg wondered what comfort he was supposed to
indicating the others. Gregg blushed. “Oh, we’re okay,” he insisted. The woman broke away from Pike to shake Stuart’s hand. She looked in her mid-forties, with short, muscular legs that bulged in a pair of dark blue denims. She’d gathered her hair— black but white at the roots—into a wispy bun held in swirling disarray by a chopstick. “I’m Sarah,” she said. “You’ve got two more coming, I know. We’ll eat as soon as I get this ham out of the oven.” “No hurry,” Gregg said. He’d been expecting
why? Because I don’t hate anyone. I refuse to. I hate fakery, I hate falseness, but I don’t hate people.” Henry shifted in his seat. His erect posture behind his desk conveyed something about how he liked to conduct his business, with stiff formality and an unwillingness to be swayed by emotion. A similar bearing might’ve been useful in practicing meditation, if Henry had been inclined to such a thing. “My problem is, I get restless,” Pike confessed. “My mind’s always going a million miles a
was always the first person up in the morning and usually beat Allison downstairs by a good three hours. But Allison wasn’t here. She was in New Hampshire. Who was this person? “Good morning, sleepyhead,” said the stirring shape, who sat up to block the window light. Gregg blinked madly until his eyes focused on the figure of a young boy, maybe nineteen, lying naked above the satin covers. Feeling under the sheets, Gregg realized that he was naked, too. His gentle headache told him he’d had too
I’m here or not.” “True. Anyway, it’s good to have you here.” She gazed down at her bare feet and her toenails, painted red. Her own nakedness seemed disappointing, even though she’d spent the whole day looking forward to it. She wanted more—not just to be naked but to talk about it as well. Watching his backside, she said, “You know something?” “What?” “Sometimes when I’m between clients at work, I wonder what it would be like if I took off all my clothes and everyone in the bank could see